It’s time to stop bashing white men

Terry Gilliam is right: it’s stupid and wrong to blame white men for every social ill.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill


Monty Python legend and film director Terry Gilliam says we have to stop blaming white men for every ill in the world. He’s right. The casual manner in which ‘white man’ has become a term of abuse is deeply worrying. It treats whiteness almost as an original sin. It turns the accident of white skin into a marker for evil, a sign that you’re a morally questionable creature. It’s time to bring this white-man-bashing to an end.

In a hilarious interview with the Independent – the Indy’s woke interviewer didn’t find it funny, natch – Gilliam has a pop at the #MeToo movement, makes a crack about transgenderism, and says we should lay off white blokes.

#MeToo is allowing women to dodge responsibility for their own failures and bad choices, he says. ‘I want people to take responsibility and not just constantly point a finger at somebody else, saying “You’ve ruined my life”.’

He says he now identifies as a black lesbian. People have taken offence. Of course they have. What else are they going to do with their time? These easily offended nitwits should avoid the Monty Python classic Life of Brian (1979), which doesn’t only mock Christianity (which of course they have no problem with) but also the mad, sectarian left and transgenderism, too. Remember the People’s Front of Judea member, Stan, who wanted to become Loretta? ‘It’s symbolic of our struggle against oppression’, says a comrade who backs Stan’s transition. ‘It’s symbolic of his struggle against reality’, says one who doesn’t.

And why is Gilliam joking (yes, it’s only a joke, calm down) about identifying as a black lesbian? Because it’s rough being a white man these days, he says. ‘I’m tired, as a white male, of being blamed for everything that is wrong with the world’, he says.

He went on to say that he’s actually pretty exhausted with all forms of racialisation and with the ‘tribalism’ of the new identitarian era. ‘I don’t like the term black or white. I’m now referring to myself as a melanin-light male. I can’t stand the simplistic, tribalistic behaviour that we’re going through at the moment’, he says.

Gilliam makes a good point. He has, with mind-numbing predictability, been mocked as a self-pitying old white man who doesn’t appreciate how much ‘white privilege’ he enjoys, etc etc. But actually, his resistance to the lazy trend for pinning every social and moral problem on white men is positive.

White-bashing is widespread. Observers casually moan about white men and their foul impact on the world in a way they never would about any other group. The election of Donald Trump was a ‘whitelash’, we’re told. The white women who voted for him elevated their racial privilege over their feminisitc responsibilities, identikit identitarians claim. Brexit is a screech of nostalgia for a whiter past, some Remainers say. In popular culture, whiteness is increasingly a marker for squareness. It’s so lame to be white. ‘You white people.’ Even Jo Swinson, former Lib Dem leader, has complained about ‘white men’ who are ‘stuck in the past’. The Guardian runs headlines about ‘bitter old white men’. Reni Eddo-Lodge’s racial manifesto Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race has been a roaring success (primarily among well-educated, well-to-do, bookish whites, of course, who are the key audience for the anti-whiteness of the new elites).

There are so many problems with this pathologisation of whiteness, this treatment of white men in particular (though white women are increasingly getting it in the neck) as culturally inferior and politically destructive. It racialises public life. It reduces people to their skin colour in precisely the same way anti-black racists did in the past. It erases the colossal social and class differences between white people. The idea that Bill Gates and the Polish man who fixes Ms Eddo-Lodge’s toilet while she writes columns for Vogue are indistinguishable, are both privileged, is obviously ridiculous.

It is also pretty immoral. The whiteness obsession utterly erases class. Identitarians claim to be left-wing while in reality achieving something that even the free-market warriors of the Thatcher era failed to bring about: the expulsion of class from public life; the erasure of class as the key social relation; the reduction of working-class men and women to inherently racist and privileged people probably in need of some re-education.

‘Whiteness’ is a patently absurd social category. Who apart from bands of tragic white nationalists and virgins who live on 4chan thinks of himself as white? Our other experiences – class, education, nationality, political belief – are far more important to the vast majority of us.

The obsessive assault on white men elicits two responses, both as bad as each other. Switched-on middle-class white people in the cultural elites respond with self-flagellation, constantly checking their privilege and effectively apologising for their accidental crime of having been born white. Some on the hard right and alt-right respond by reclaiming whiteness, by celebrating it, by flirting with white nationalism.

Whether it’s the defensive anti-whiteness of posh white people or the assertive white self-love of small groups of right-leaning white youths, both sides accept the reality of whiteness. What we really should be doing is rejecting racialisation entirely. Nobody is a racial creature. We are individuals, socially influenced, culturally conscious, self-determining. If more people in positions of influence took a cue from Terry Gilliam and spoke out against identitarian sectarianism, we might just start to reverse the racialisation of humanity that is the most nauseating achievement of the politics of identity.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


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nick hunt

17th January 2020 at 7:32 pm

The longer and louder the woke mob shout ‘racist’ at white people only, the more obvious it becomes that they are the real racists. What’s more, the faster they will lose power, the moral high ground, and any claim to be superior to the dumb gammons. I always ask leftists crying racism to link me to their posts attacking non-white racists.

Paul Carlin

13th January 2020 at 6:55 pm

I wish I knew what, exactly, it is which drives this phenomenon. Is it actual inequity? Is it some sort of hard-wired racial memory which defines ‘enemy’? I suspect the latter.

Carl Black

10th January 2020 at 7:43 pm

I do not like any blanket denouncing of any race. Black people have suffered horrendously in the past but things are lot better than the 60s and early seventies. I have always liked Terry Gilliam and the “Nation’s Grandad” – Michael Palin. I am black

Peter Spurrier

10th January 2020 at 4:49 pm

While I sympathise with much of this article, I don’t agree that whiteness isn’t real. Nor do I agree with the statement ‘nobody is a racial creature’. If we’re going to think freely, why should biology be taboo? Neither do I think it should be taboo to care about race and to be proud of your race, whatever that is. That seems quite natural to me. Where I would draw the line is when it comes to any uncivilised treatment of anyone, which I regard as unacceptable.

nick hunt

17th January 2020 at 7:39 pm

You’ve probably noticed how such movements as Black Pride, Asian Pride, Mexican Pride, Gay Pride etc are all cool. But whisper ‘White Pride’ or even ‘It’s OK to be White’, and you are a racist and white supremacist. There’s your racist hate…

Bob Marley

10th January 2020 at 12:34 pm

Things just turned out as they have with only a slight twist the white race could have been any other color and turned out the same way but instead of being run by white, could of been black, brown, yellow, or red, and the white race slaved. Or near genocide like the native Americans, who i think have got screwed more and worse than all the rest combined.

And i could imagine blacks, and mexicans having slaves provided the change in history just that easy.

Hypocrisy is one size fits all! And knows no colors to discriminate!

Genghis Kant

9th January 2020 at 11:33 am

Of course without the effort of (mainly) white men in the past and in the present, none of these woke idiots would have the quality of life that enables them to complain about white privilege.

Mark Rowe

11th January 2020 at 4:25 am

Stupid comment 😂😂😂

Fiona Allen

16th January 2020 at 1:11 pm

I am stunned by the logic, power and intellectual integrity of your comment.

nick hunt

17th January 2020 at 7:43 pm

Trouble is Marx and Engels were stupid old white men.

Leon Kershaw

9th January 2020 at 9:15 am

Strewth! You city types & your so called concerns & problems. Maybe you should stick your heads out of your media bubble & take a look at real life led by real people with real jobs. Living in the countryside (as I do) all this white privilege, transgender, climate emergency, vegan rubbish doesn’t exist. We just get on with our lives. respect those who deserve it, ignore those that don’t, are rarely offended & view such as the above with amused puzzlement.

Jane Lester

17th January 2020 at 9:04 pm

So right, agree entirely

Bella Donna

9th January 2020 at 9:04 am

Being white is great I revel in my whiteness. White and Proud!

nick hunt

17th January 2020 at 7:46 pm

Me too. Now ,can we find a corporate media outlet that would discuss and publish this hugely taboo idea as something positive?

Stephen J

9th January 2020 at 8:20 am

“The whiteness obsession utterly erases class. ”

Hmmmm…. I didn’t realise that white men were the majority, I always thought that we are a downtrodden minority…?

er… we are a minority, aren’t we?

nick hunt

17th January 2020 at 7:56 pm

If you want to know how it feels to be part of a hated minority, just wear a Trump hat in public places for a week or so, especially on a university campus. The hat will soon teach you how many people are driven by hate, and it’s definitely not Trump or his supporters (I did this in Brazil, by the way. Hate infects millions of middle class morons here too). But you need to be tough: angry, anguished and/or spitting leftists soon get tiresome. And it helps to look big and strong, making physical attacks less likely.

Ven Oods

9th January 2020 at 8:14 am

Being both white and male (neither part of which did I actively choose) and working class (ditto) I find that it helps not to worry about the opinions of people who come out with drivel like ‘white privilege’. My white, working class dad would have been nonplussed had anyone ever informed him about his innate privilege.

Mike Stallard

9th January 2020 at 7:24 am

I am not proud of being white.I am very, very proud, however, to be British.

Bob Marley

10th January 2020 at 12:19 pm

As a white person im pretty ashamed of all the damage the English have done to so many countries throughout our history

nick hunt

17th January 2020 at 8:15 pm

Let me try to relieve your learnt shame. Remember that empires and tyrannies have existed thoughout human history, some for thousands of years. The British Empire was one of the largest but shortest-lived ever. Yet during its brief existence, it transformed the world in numerous ways. Among many achievements, the Brits removed local tyrants and gang wars, established the rule of law and order, introduced impartial justice systems, ended numerous barbaric practices, spread vital technology, science and medicine around the globe, improved transport and communications, and introduced free market capitalism, possibly the greatest force against extreme poverty the world has ever seen. Of course there were also many horrific crimes and less beneficial effects. But the challenge for haters of Britain and its empire is this: can you name an empire at any time in human history that was more beneficial to the world (and more popular) than the British empire? If you can please explain. If not, stop smearing us and start fighting the ridiculous but cancerous shame which ignorant leftist bigots have created.

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H McLean

9th January 2020 at 1:41 am

It’s not enough to ‘stop bashing white men’, we need to call out the people and ideologies that are doing it. Feminists are top of the list. It’s a hateful ideology that undermines the women who invest in it and despises men for the sake of power. Also, don’t be shy or afraid – if a politician says they’re feminist tell them in no uncertain terms why you won’t be voting for them!

Claire D

9th January 2020 at 6:37 am

Well said H Mclean.

Mark Gullick PhD

8th January 2020 at 11:06 pm

Not sure what all the fuss is about. I am white, and it wasn’t until Liberals and black people started telling me I had white privilege that I realized I had it. Great! It’s like finding a six-pack you forgot about at the back of the fridge.

nick hunt

17th January 2020 at 8:45 pm

Ask them if it’s only whites who have this privilege, and also what it looks like. For example, do the underage working class girls of most UK cities today exercise white privilege as they encounter the poor Asian rape gangs?’

Dominic Straiton

8th January 2020 at 10:12 pm

Im not bothered. Keep bashing the people who created everything including all medicine , transport,computers, the internet, electricity, mining, philosophy, Polykleitos etc etc etc etc and on and on and on. When your that supreme a bit of bashing is just more adulation dressed up as embarrassment.

Pink Dinosaur

14th January 2020 at 3:36 am

The only reason white men created most things is because they have oppressed women/POC for hundreds of years and prevented them from participating in the arts, law, politics, etc. until very recently.

nick hunt

17th January 2020 at 9:41 pm

First, women/POC only began ‘to participate’ in recent history thasnks to white men and the humane Christian, western values and beliefs that drove and empowered them. In many non-white nations today, they still do not. Second, you may that slavery today is more common than ever; some Muslim-controlled societies continue it after 1,400 years or more. By contrast, white Christian men are the only ones in history to outlaw it: the British empire even risked its sailors’ lives fighting the slavers. Third, only white men stopped discrimination based on race or religion, and spread human rights around the world. Are there any African or Muslim nations where women and non-indigenous people (POC?) enjoy the rights, freedoms, prosperity and respect they have in today’s white-majority nations? Lastly, let me emphasise that I never see white men as blameless or ‘superior’ to non-whites. Old white men like Marx, Engels and Stalin are responsible for much of the war, hate, envy, intolerance and extreme violence both historically and in the world today. ‘White’ ideologies like communism have killed more innocent citizens than just about anything. But of course, it isn’t only whites who enslave and terrorize entire nations, as your knowledge of communist murderers and tyrants like Mao, Mugabe and Castro should tell you.

Danny Rees

8th January 2020 at 8:50 pm

White men are blamed for every social ill.

Hmm every time there is a rape, stabbing or other violent crime tuns of people tweet “cultural enrichment and diversity”. I don’t think they are blaming white men to be honest.

Jerry Owen

8th January 2020 at 8:57 pm

D Rees
Really ? When did the BBC politicians or the rest of MSM say that?

Michael Lynch

8th January 2020 at 8:36 pm

I’m white and Irish but go a deep shade of red when the sun shines. So I guess that exempts me from any blame for the world’s ills too. It’s nice having duality!


8th January 2020 at 6:54 pm

I can’t imagine the pain Brendan must have experienced throughout his life for being a white male… What’s next week’s contrarian breakthrough article – ‘Why does nobody think about the Bergen-Belsen guards, they were there too?’

Francis Lonergan

8th January 2020 at 7:09 pm

Typical identitarian, shoot the messenger don’t address the message.


8th January 2020 at 8:36 pm

‘Typical identitarian’ — Not in the least. Brendan is playing the identity/race card just as much as any SJW anti-racist activist. There’s nothing ironic in what he writes, he really believes this crap!

Jerry Owen

8th January 2020 at 9:00 pm

Brendan specifically says that colour or race should be of no importance.. you really ought to digest what others write before you spout out!

Jerry Owen

8th January 2020 at 7:55 pm

More importantly when is Zenobia Palmyra going to have a a ‘contrarian breakthrough’ and give us something of interest to read !


8th January 2020 at 8:35 pm

You mean something that agrees with the increasingly extreme right-wing bilge being published on this sounding-board website and with which you are all in fundamental agreement?

Michael Lynch

8th January 2020 at 8:37 pm

Never, Jerry, never.

Jerry Owen

8th January 2020 at 8:55 pm

No.. just something of interest will do

Christopher Gibbs

8th January 2020 at 9:01 pm

Lmao did you really just compare white men to Nazi concentration camp guards.

you might be a little delusional.


9th January 2020 at 12:33 am

You know what ‘hyperbole’ is, don’t you?

Ven Oods

9th January 2020 at 8:18 am

Is it something somewhat beyond ‘bole’?

Les Paul

8th January 2020 at 6:49 pm

Brilliant and spot on!

Alley Kat

8th January 2020 at 6:04 pm

You want to try being a white woman, what with all our womb priviledge. At least men aren’t being completely erased.


8th January 2020 at 6:58 pm

How are you being ‘erased’? Women (and white women in particular) have more status and opportunity than they have ever had in history.

Alley Kat

8th January 2020 at 7:37 pm

That’s the way I feel therefore it is the truth.

steve moxon

8th January 2020 at 5:24 pm

Well Brendan got here in the end. So when is he going to come clean it’s all of it Left backlash?
The whole ‘white’ schtick started when the Left co-opted US civil rights in 1968 so they could get a bunch of men to join the women they’d previously deemed the new ‘vanguard’ of de revolushun after the Left reckoned all ‘the workers’ (men) had let them down. They just generalised from actually oppressed African-Americans to all ethnic minority, notwithstanding the likes of Asian Americans being better off that ‘whites’ in everything and never having been subject to oppression.

Jim Lawrie

8th January 2020 at 5:20 pm

Hatred of white men not only is a convenient scapegoat for others’ shortcomings. It is twinned with the belittling and denigration of the achievements of white men as being borne out of an unfair advantage, and therefore without merit.
Our advantage is not skin colour. It is the society we carved out for ourselves. Has the departure of white males from our education, legal, parliamentary and police systems heralded a triumphant advance by their replacements?


8th January 2020 at 6:59 pm

You don’t see the bigotry because you don’t live it on a daily basis.

Francis Lonergan

8th January 2020 at 7:11 pm

Ahhh diddums.

Jerry Owen

8th January 2020 at 7:57 pm

Give us examples of the daily bigotry you suffer ZP ?


8th January 2020 at 8:34 pm

Jerry Owen — I don’t experience bigotry because I’m a honky. However, people of colour regularly experience discrimination. You don’t believe it because you don’t experience it personally, and that’s a very stupid way of looking at reality…

steve moxon

8th January 2020 at 8:54 pm

Anti-‘white’ racism is now the predominant form of racism — as the nasty term ‘honky’ denotes.
Most races in most contexts do not experience any significant racism. Eg, Asian Americans,. who outperform, even ‘whites’ in any and every category.

Christopher Gibbs

8th January 2020 at 9:03 pm

“people of colour regularly experience discrimination. You don’t believe it because you don’t experience it personally”

can we maybe get some statistics on that, or anything of substance.

Not you being the white savior of those oh so unfortunate huddled massed that you feel perfectly entitled to speak for

Michael Lynch

8th January 2020 at 10:30 pm

ZP, White people are victims of casual racism too. I’ve been called an Irish Bast@rd by black people in my time, particularly during the immediate period after the IRA pub bombings in the 70s. Racists exist in every creed and culture. Even over here in Ireland you get terrible prejudice against Poles, Lithuanians and Eastern Europeans. Denying this and claiming that racism is the preserve of Anglo Saxon whites is absurd nonsense. What’s worse is that I believe you actually know this but believe you have to double down because that’s what is expected of you from your peer group. Break free from them, mate, and think for yourself. It’s really liberating being an independent thinker.

Walter Sobchak

9th January 2020 at 1:21 am

What type of privileges do you experience as a Caucasian when you live in an area that is made up of a predominantly Black or Asian demographic? These areas exist in the UK and believe me, or dont it’s your prerogative, growing up as a ‘white boy’ in those places one will experience their fair share of anti white racism. That might amuse you, if you listen to the left then racism towards white people does not even exist, all those racially motivated beat downs one may have experienced are illusory, just figments of your own xenophobic mania. As for the attitude of these communities towards members of the rainbow club, lets just say tolerance is not high on the menu, in fact its not on the menu at all.

Black and Asian people might well have been disproportionately afflicted by bigoted racists in their lifetime but if you are going to assay racism properly then the subsequent prohibition of White people from experiencing racism is not only disingenuous it is morally repugnant. If we imagine racism as a production line it churns out racists in every colour, to suggest otherwise is to be wilfully myopic.

Jerry Owen

9th January 2020 at 7:58 am

My friends of colour never speak about discrimination and I never see it. That’s because racial discrimination is exceedingly rare. Various polls show that immigration ( which is nowt to do with racism as you like to believe) was way down the list for why people voted Brexit… Many Brexiteers being of colour anyway, which no doubt you struggle with.
You of course would love racism to be rife to justify your outdated political views which belong in the sixties.
As for you being a honkey, why don’t you just say you are white,
or do you hate yourself that much?
Do you look in the mirror and self flagellate ?

Ven Oods

9th January 2020 at 8:23 am

“I don’t experience bigotry because I’m a honky.”

Yet your comment contains a term that some non-whites tend to use indiscriminately to refer to whites (whether or not those whites might be racist). Which does tend to suggest that intolerance is more widespread than you wish to admit. Unless you think that hating ‘The Man’ requires hatred of all those whose skin colour is shared by ‘The Man’?

nick hunt

17th January 2020 at 10:04 pm

White men suffer prejudice from woke bigots all the time, as evidenced by your own daily posts here. If you know of any corporate media outlet exposing and attacking the now massive hate and violence against white people, (like the slow genocide going on against white South Africans) rather than helping the left to hide and deny it, please link. I can link you to many independent media sites where reporting anti-white racism is neither taboo nor prohibited by the group think of ‘progressive’ journalists and their progressive corporate owners. Stop working for tyranny, Xenops

steve moxon

8th January 2020 at 6:59 pm

You’re dead right.
They’ve all gone downhill.
Males succeed because they are inherently mutually competitive, inherently cooperative, and inherently all-inclusive. Women aren’t. Men have to compete for status within the male hierarchy in order to have a life (to have a family, to be chosen as a husband, even to get any sex), and as they are obliged to defend the whole group (females and children included) have no same-sex preference for in-group members. By contrast, women avoid competition (they have no need of it and it would risk damaging their reproductive potential), and form exclusionary small groups as (or as rehearsal for) dependable mutual childcare, and consequently have a four- to five-fold same-sex preference for ingroup members.
The Left know nothing about what makes people and society tick. If they knew biology they’d realise that competition is instrumental to cooperation, not antithetical to it.


8th January 2020 at 7:04 pm

Well argued essay. I give it a B.

Pink Dinosaur

14th January 2020 at 3:40 am

It must suck being a mediocre white man. The hoops you have to go through to validate yourself must be exhausting, especially once you realize you ain’t shit and the only reason many white men succeed is based on (1) their gender and (2) the color of their skin.

Brandy Cluster

8th January 2020 at 9:28 pm

Actually, you’ve really hit upon something. My sister was here discussing that just last week; she’s a 67y/o retired Clinical Psych and former businesswoman (having dabbled in the resources industry, owning a company). She said “SCAPEGOATING” is the shiny new phenomenon of the western world. In the last week our Australian PM has been ‘scapegoated’ for the bush fires crisis. The holiday-makers who refused advice of authorities NOT to travel at Christmas-time into fire zones all had to be evacuated at taxpayer expense. And the people who lost everything in those places had to compete with the holiday-makers for scarce food and water. You couldn’t make this stuff up!! So, SCAPEGOATING is alive and well the world over and a symptom of industrial-strength failure of personal responsibility. Again, ‘thank you’ to the Left!!

They’re winning all the arguments and losing all the elections!

Brandy Cluster

8th January 2020 at 9:28 pm

My reply was meant for Jim Lawrie!!


9th January 2020 at 12:36 am

Boris is on the ‘right’ but has repeatedly failed to take personal responsibility. He is a proven liar and philanderer. His last-minute conversion to the Brexit cause was purely due to his own political ambition.

Jerry Owen

9th January 2020 at 8:01 am

BJ is a classic liberal as his writings clearly show.
You are a bigot and are incapable of rational thought.

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